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tv   NOW With Alex Wagner  MSNBC  December 31, 2012 9:00am-10:00am PST

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we are 12 hours away from 2013. will congress drop the ball as the ball drops? it's monday, december 31st, and this is "now." chief economic correspondent for politico, ben white. jen bendry of the huffington post. partisan ranker and frustration all around, we've arrived at the fiscal cliff.
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the senate, which was expected to hold an up and down vote on a final bare bones budget deal last night wasn't quite able to make it happen. harry reid gave us problem or lack thereof. >> there are two sides still apart, and negotiations are continuing as i speak. there's still more before we can bring ledges laying to the floor. what else is new? can anyone save this congress from itself? turns out the new man responsible is vice president joe biden. yep. that's right. joe biden is the latest person to be called on to try to get congress out of the straight jacket they've put themselves in. the vp and senate minority leader mitch mcconnell exchanged phone calls until midnight last night and again this morning, and appeared to be zeroing in on a tax rate compromise in the region of a $450,000 to $550,000 threshold.
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a higher rate than the president's earlier compromise as well as an agreement on the estate tax. sticking points remain. president obama seemed resigned to going over the cliff. >> if all else fails, if republicans do, in fact, decide to block it so that taxes on middle class families do, in fact, go up on january 1st, then on january 4th the first bill to be introduced on the floor will be to cut taxes on middle class families. >> and this morning former white house spokesman robert gibbs was even more blunt. >> the republicans simply can't utter the word yes. they cannot utter the word yes. i mean, i feel like it's -- i feel like you're talking to a 5-year-old, and, you know, you're saying, look, you have to eat your vegetables. the 5-year-old says, ah, you know, maybe. i will eat half of them, and you say will you eat a quarter of them? i will eat a quarter of them. >> out of control 5-year-old. still, the senate is back at it
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today trying to resolve the impasse. while the two sides seem to be nearing an accord on taxes, they continue to battle over republican attempts to make social security cost of living cuts or chain cpi. it led to this bit of sarcasm from harry reid. >> i was really grat tied to hear of the republicans taking their demand for social security benefit cuts off the table. >> there's least some agreement between house republicans. they all agreed to blame the entire fiscal mess on the president. he is support doing his job, and it's time that he does his job. >> i think it's becoming very clear based on what we're hearing from the president, even seeing in an interview today on "meet the press" that the president is all in the blame game. he is not engaged in solving america's problems. >> see, they can agree.
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as the clock ticks down on 2012, americans can take solis in the fact that no matter how bad their habits, no matter how debilitating their faults, they will never be as dysfunctional as the people we've chosen to lead us. so joining us now to explain exactly where we stand is the sage of capitol hill himself, nbc's luke russert. oh, luke, coming in on the -- what should be your day off. please do explain to us this mess that's happening on capitol hill. where are we right now? >> it's quite a mess. obviously we've heard all those words, joy. the negotiations are fluid. it's $450,000 up from $250,000. also included in that is the extension of unemployment benefits. they're trying to figure out right now what is the hold-up to this possible deal is how -- whether or not they would pay for this see quester with some revenue or some other way. aside from how the deal is being shaped up right now, you're starting to hear some real anger on the left. tom hashingen, the senator from
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iowa, went to the senate floor and said this was a bad deal that no deal would be better than this deal, and i'm -- from a conversation i've had way few house liberals, they feel the same way. they feel that what's happening rain as the president is giving too much to republicans by going up to that $450,000 number that we should go over the cliff, have the inertia scenario essentially make republicans vote on cutting taxes for those paying $250,000 or below, and this is kind of playing into the republican strategy. i talked to a high level republican member last night, joy, and he said, look, we realize that we've shed too much blood on this tax revenue. we're going to get somewhere closer to -- not from the million weaponed to, but we were closer to the 250,000. we can come back and fight the president over the debt limit. we can come back and fight the president over continuing funding for the government. we can come back and fight the president over any delayed cuts to the sequester that are temporary from this. republicans see that anything above 250,000 they get is essentially a victory for them,
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and they're more than happy to have these same type of cliff fights in 60 to 90 days. >> right. >> coming back for it. >> right. >> to the point that you just made, luke, is there a feeling -- because you do see a lot of irritation on the face of harry reid, and he is not a guy who shows a lot of emotion, but you do see some irritation there. is part of this by harry reid as well as liberal democrats that the white house essentially went around reid and got biden in there to make what they feel is a bad deal? >> well, i think there's probably -- i don't know if that's being for harry reid so much. i definitely know that is the opinion of some liberals in the house, but i've spoke to a member today who is pretty middle of the road centrist democrat, and he told me that he did not like the fact that there's no guarantee for the debt limit to go up within -- for an extension of the year tored to get those 450,000 rates. i think what people need to see here is if you look back at what's happened to this congress with boehner and mcconnell and the house gop, this is what they do in negotiations.
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they go all the way to the end. they try to bring the white house to their knees. they get everything they want. there's this idea that, well, maybe they'll come back the next time and try to get it done ahead of schedule and we'll all sing kum baya. this really is in the hands of congress, and we saw how that played out in 2011. >> i want to bring the panel in, because i think that luke just hit on the point that i wanted to get to. i want to quickly just read you a quote from jonathan who has written a lot about these issues and requests what a lot of liberal democrats are feeling right now. what jonathan wrote why is obama caving on tacks? the discouraging thing about the fiscal cliff negotiations is not that they have gone into the eleventh hour. it's that president obama has retreated on his hard line on taxes. obama may think his conciliatory approach has helped avoid economic chaos. instead, he is courting it." i want to go right to jimmy williams because you have been a senate staffer. you understand how this thing works. why would the white house even bother to increase from 250,000
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to 400,000. they don't really have to. they're winning this fives fight. >> the only people that actually care whether or not the threshold is 250,000 to 400,000 are these people that are going to vote on it. nobody else really cares. all they really care is that you get a deal. these people are sitting at ground zero. these snores, these liberals. i'm a liberal. i don't care what the thereby hold is. i don't give a damn if it's a million. i just want them to get a deal or go over the cliff, but somebody just make up your mind up on capitol hill. that's what the american people would like to hear. here's the bottom line. even if they do get a deal at 450,000 or 500,000 or whatever that number is, barack obama will sign into law at some point a tax cut for millions of american people. they will no longer be the bush tax cuts. they will be the obama tax cuts from millions of medal class families all across this country. guess what, that's not a bad thing. >> the question is going to be what does he get for it, right? if he goes and increases the threshold to 4r50,000, what is the president getting? obviously, unemployment insurance is important, but what else has the president gotten in this negotiation? >> he hasn't gotten a lot.
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that's kind of the problem that i think a lot of liberals are saying. you saw jonathan's article. a lot of liberals are saying he is caving on taxes, getting very little in return, and the debt ceiling fight is three months away, and we're already seeing republicans openly saying, oh, yeah, we're going to fight over that too, and we're going to get what we want there. >> right. >> i think it's frankly pretty ridiculous to say he is not getting anything because is he getting a lot. he is not getting 250,000, but 450,000, there's a segment amount of tax increases that will go into that. people making over 450,000 or 500,000 a year. there's no way he was ever going to get the $250,000 threshold with republicans. you say he is caving, but there's the existence of the republicans and the house of representatives in the senate. they have to be taken into the -- >> did is it reduce the deficit, which is the whole point of this in the first place, right? >> about $1 billion maybe. >> republicans are essentially arguing against deficit reduction. they're looking for higher thresholds, which curtail deficit reduction. i want to ask you this, because isn't there a philosophical sort of win for the democrats anyway because this will be the first
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time republicans were enacting a tax increase, you know, since biggie and tupac were alive? septemb isn't that a win? >> yes, that is a win. i think that a lot of this could come down to this paired down democratic plan that could come up on the senate floor. if everything else goes out the window, it's the strictly $250,000 threshold, you know, extend unemployment insurance, and come up with a broader plan and punt everything else. >> does it get to the house? can that get through the house? >> right. >> the house people are telling me, house republicans are telling me, that if the margin in the senate is, like, 70-30, then clearly speaker boehner will have enough juice to be able to get it through the house. by the way, there is at this point in time no crazy, like, right-wing fall to get rid of john boehner. they don't have the votes to get rid of him. >> he is still going to be speaker. >> even if he passes with democratic votes, fine. so he passes it. here's the problem. what i don't understand is that
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everyone is screaming about deficit reduction. don't forget who asked and demanded for deficit reduction. when i talked to a capitol hill staffer, here's what he said. he said -- this is very important -- "if it's a status quo election some kind of deal that staifz off sec quest rags. >> the republicans. >> i have to say it, it is the republicans that the point that are arguing against deficit reduction. they want to cancel the see quester, which is military spending cut. >> only on their terms. >> they would like spending cuts, but they would like -- they won't be ebbing mrift about exactly how do do it. >> i want to give luke the last word on this. >> is there a chance? just your kind of read on the final word on this, do we end today with some kind of a deal, or do they punt this and try to do it before january 3rd or not at all, just go over the cliff? >> i think that there's a possibility you could see a deal come out of the senate today, although i think if any deal comes out of the senate, the house will most likely vote on it tomorrow. i don't see a late night new year's eve vote in the house. because we're already at noon
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today with no plan, that would be really, really quick for congress to move, and i think they can go to january 1st with the idea that treasury comes on to freeze everything. this is the first new year's eve session we've had here on capitol hill since 1995. everything old is new again, guys. >> new again. most of the american people would if they could deny all of those members of congress their bottle of champagne. >> i absolutely -- >> give them nothing. >> it's the most pathetic place in the country right now. >> i cannot -- that's a good note to end it on. luke russert, appreciate it. after the break, the question being asked ad nauseam, is what happens if we go over the cliff? we're already learning what it's like to go over another cliff. >> we've already gone over the political cliff here, if you will, with what -- because the deal that happens, if it happens, is temporary. we're going to have this debt ceiling thing in six weeks, which is just a bomble. >> we'll get into that debt ceiling thing, and look at the broader economic implications of the cliff next on "now." [ whistle blows ]
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a long time ago i was a stockbroker. the thing wall street and investors can't take is uncertainty. if they know taxes are going up, they'll refigure things. if they know taxes are going down, they'll refigure things. if they know taxes are staying the same, they'll figure it out. right now they're frozen. sfwloop the country hasn't officially gone over the fiscal cliff, but the uncertainty that senator barber boxer has talken about, may have already taken its toll. the dow is flat after it shed nearly 2% last week. the losses can pile up even
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more. according to the congressional budget office, the combination of dramatic spending cuts and tax hikes in the fiscal cliff could slow economic growth by a half a percentage point and send unemployment up to 9.1% over the course of 2013. the nonpartisan tax policy center calculate that is the average middle class family would see its tax rates -- its tax bills rise next year by $2,000. the fiscal cliff isn't the only thing rattling the economy. in just a few weeks lawmakers will begin battling over the debt ceiling. you may recall that in the summer of 2011 the debt limit standoff led to the first ever downgrade of the nation's credit rating. joining us now from capitol hill is cnbc's aman jabbers. appreciate you helping us make sense of all of this. >> happy new year. thank you for having me. >> on a less happy note, there are economists who are saying this whole fight over the fiscal cliff, the rangeling in washington has already caused a hit on the economy. can you explain sort of what the impact of the debate has been.
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>> you dw definitely seen it. ju as early as friday when we report that the president was not making his new offer with offers down at the white house. we saw the stock market sell off rather dramatically just in those couple of minutes as that news was coming out. i got to say that over the past 24 hours or so the stock market has been relatively calm sort of expecting a deal, expecting that lawmakers will somehow come to a consensus here. in terms of long-term planning, this is difficult for businesses who don't know what the tax situation is going to be for the next year. it's that uncertainty. so many businesses have such difficulty, and a lot of folks do say that there are a lot of hires that would have been made in the economy right now. new jobs created. new people added to existing companies that haven't happened as a result of this hangover over the economy, which is coming from the fiscal cliff. >> all right. amman, aside from the impact on businesses, right, there's also this impact particularly on lower income americans. >> right. >> you have the payroll tax, which is scheduled also -- the payroll tax cut is scheduled to
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expire, which would increase taxes on people who are paying that from 4.2ers perz to 6.2%. . what impact would that have on individual spending? isn't that one of the more stimulating stacks cuts that was passed in 2009? >> that was designed as a short-term stimulus. people see that immediately in their paycheck, and the idea was nelled immediately go out and spend it. s people have been spending it. once that goes up, you will see less money in your paycheck as a result of the payroll tax cut not being extended this time around. both democrats and republicans agree not to extend it. neither party kind of likes that tax cut, but for different reasons. so for a lot of political reasons, that's not in this debate right now. that thing has been left aside, and we're talking about now a bunch of other different bush tax cuts that are going to be extended and what threshold we're going to extend them at. people should get ready to see a little bit bigger bite being taken by the feds out of your tax -- out of your paycheck as
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soon as next week. >> right. you're talking about an average of $08 per family. one more question, amman. we've talked almost exclusive i feel about the tax cuts, but not the other side of the sequester. is there talk among people on the street about what the austerity cuts could do both to businesses and individuals? >> sure. absolutely. on the business side a lot of analysts on wall street are looking at the defense sector as potentially taking a huge hit here because the see sequester takes a bite out of defense spending wrfsh a lot of hose companies have been trying to baton down the hatches. they're expecting huge furlows in civilian employees and folks in the military. all of that could have a huge ripple effect in the economy when you lay off that many people, when you stop that many contracts. it's going to have some measurable impact. i talked to a couple of republicans this morning who said, look, we're not happy about the way this deal is materializing here in the last 12 hours because there's not enough spending cuts in it. that's one of the things that
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they're still wrangling on, and we won't know how that shakes out until maybe the end of tonight, maybe tomorrow, maybe wednesday. >> i want to bring the panel back in. we've just got tony one of the many ironies of this debate, and i want to go over to ben white. morning monday on twitter. republicans complaining there's not enough spending cuts in it, but, yet, they want to cancel the biggest chunk of spending cuts, which are the cuts to defense. that's where the money is. why is it that republicans both want to rye duce deficit but not do it with spending cuts, and they want to hire tax increases. >> some of them want to get rid of the sequester. others don't. some are saying we shouldn't cancel the sequester. they don't like the defense cuts thsh wreld theld like to see changes to social security and medicare. they're less apt to see what the changes are going to be, and they want democrats to do that. that's how it's gotten messed up on the spending cut side. to amman's point, he is right that there is some austerity in this no matter what deal we get. we're going to get less money in people's paychecks on social
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security and tax cuts, unemployment, insurance extension would take some of that away. and the fact of the matter is that the debt limit from a market perspective is a much bigger deal. if we get, you know, six weeks from now to a point where it looks like we might go over again, we don't have a deal, the markets are going to react more than they are now. on the fiscal cliff they think this is going to find someone out. it gets done. the debt limit, if we go over it, we get downgraded again. it's unthinkable. it's not completely unthinkable that we could. markets tanks. interest race go way up. the economy is in the tank. it's a much scarier thing, and it would be better for the economy long run if they could get the debt limit as part of this deal. >> they're not going to do it. especially this congress. i want to put up a chart that is probably my favorite chart in all of chart-dom. this gets to the heart of how difficult it is to do this. republicans keep saying stop spending, right? when you get them to sort of be specific, they can't do it, and i think this is the reason why. >> basically it shows that
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two-thirds of the spending. >> 24% defense. health care spending, which is medicare, and health care for our veterans, and medicaid is 22%. education is only 4% of the budget, and it's the biggest thing. welfare doesn't even show up. it's in other. the question always for me is what is it that republicans want to cut, and isn't that the reason, and i'll go to jen on this, that they keep going at social security, which doesn't contribute to the deficit, but which is a big pot of money. >> the elections took over everything, and everything is debating until now, and they still can't get it done. the fact that there's no specifics on what they're
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willing to cut is a huge problem to getting anything here. >> who was against medicaid when it was passed and then expanded? republican party. they have never been for it. they have never been for it from the minute any of these programs were started? why were they started? because americans needed help. >> if the republicans and democrats want to be on the side of defense contractors and democrats want to be on the side of people, i guess that shows you the stark difference in realities between the two parties. i would rather stick with the democrats. they did withdraw their request in the deal. even they could see that fighting for a higher threshold on tax cuts for wealthy people,
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fighting for the estate tax cut to say stay the same and going after benefit cuts doesn't look good. >> this was something even mitt romney understood, who is kind of the source of a lot of the problems of the republicans having now with their image. mitt romney was, you know, very careful about social security. in the primaries he tried to outflank rick perry on the left on social security. so, yeah, yeah, republicans don't want to be seen as the people who are taking money away from old people while defending millionaire's tax cuts. they're very careful about that. >> the problem here is that these debates cannot happen simultaneously for republicans. they can't do social security, medicare reform, and cuts while they're extending or pushing for extension of tax breaks on the wealthiest. it doesn't work politically. if they want to do those two things, they have to be separated from extending tax rates from the top percent. >> they can't do it now, but could they do it on the dead death limit? will we satisfy sea the same fight return in 30, 60 days? >> yes. we're going to see it on the debt limit. we're going to see it on the continuing resolution that funds the government, which runs out
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in about march, so we're going to see this kind of stuff again and again. republicans, i've talked to this morning, have said that they feel like they might lose on the substance of this one. >> thu future thut have you amuch stronger political hand than the one they do today. they're consoling themselves right now saying we're going to come back fighting hard. >> we're going to update on her condition just ahead. new years clutter is no match for someone with big ideas. with a new project in mind, some how-to knowledge to give us an edge, and more savings down every aisle. it only takes a few twists and turns
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hagel, but the president hasn't exactly committed to haag e's nomination. could it have something to do with the onslaught of republican criticism of the former senator? we'll tackle cabinet concerns next on "now." [ female announcer ] over the years,
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president obama acknowledged lapsed that the white house would take immediate steps to resolve. he rejected criticism that he would let his u.n. ambassador twisting in the wind, susan rice, instead of training fire on republicans. >> information a politically motivated attack on her. she probably had the least to do with the attack on benghazi. why she was targeted individually for the kind of attacks that she was subjected to is -- it was puzzling to me. >> the process also seems to be playing out with one of obama's top picks to lead the pentagon. the president was quick to praise republican former nebraska senator chuck hagel, but was just as quick to say he hadn't made up his mind. >> i haven't made a decision about who to nominate. >> anything disqualify him? >> not that i see. i have serbed with chuck hagel.
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he know him. is he somebody who served this country is w veil valor. >> he ran into stubborn resistance over the weekend from senate republicans like lynndie graham and tomko burn. >> there would be little republican support. there will be very few votes at the end of the day. >> i cannot vote for chuck hagel. >> why? >> simply because of the positions that he has taken and some of the statements that he has taken. >> meanwhile, epa administer lisa jackson's decision to step down also has many doubting whether the president will be able to get her replacement confirmed by congress. seems like there's not much love in congress now, period. we're going to go all the way to the left this time. this is insane at this point, right? every time the president not even nominates someone, but even
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mentions their name in connection with the connection of nomination to any cabinet post, can you reflexively expect republicans to say, no, no, no, that person is no good. >> republicans wanted to win with susan rice, and they got a win. they're hoping to do the same thing with chuck hagel. >> the president apoints cabinet members, and the senate is expected to allow that to happen. they're not supposed to stand in the way every time there's some sort of minor idealogical qualm with them, right? >> exactly. >> with susan rice, you know, it was tied to the benghazi scandal, which they had spent months making a big deal, and obviously that was important to them. with chuck hagel, it's a lot less clear what their most substantive critiques are. >> there's been an ironic critique, jimmy. they tried to essentially say how dare the president nominate this guy who wasn't good on gay
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rights, which is ironic because that's not exactly the republican party's bailey-wick. it was a true insult. the person who he insulted has accepted his apology, and he issued a statement saying the apology was significant. he can't remember when a potential presidential nominee apologized for anything. he also stated that because hagel said he would be willing to back lgbt families and if that's a commitment to treat lgbt families in the service and everyone else that's -- >> that's a thin read on which to hang opposition to hagel. >> something very strange is happening in the united states senate these days, and i'm not talking about the fiscal cliff. i'm talking about how you have republicans eating alive their own republicans. that's almost unprecedented. you have the log cabin republicans, the gay conservative group being funded by crazy right-wingers who are
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coming out against a republican, and you have the liberal democratic groups, gay groups, like hrc human rights campaign saying we're with him after he makes this apology. it's almost like it's crazy day. i think there's one common threat through all of this, and that's that the republican caucus, the right-wing republican caucus losing olympia snow, losing other thoughtful members, is now so far to the right that no matter what barack obama says, does, thinks, uses his brain for, their answer is no, even if it's one of their own. >> i know you have a point you want to make, but isn't it also the fact that the people who oppose chuck hagel are the people who have been the most wrong on foreign policy, pretty much on everything for the last generation? right? there was a piece in the national journal in which he writes for too many lawmakers on capitol hill, nominating hagel would be too uncomfortable. it would be too uncomfortable to have him restored to power because he would be a living,
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nagging reminder of just how much they got wroonk. >> that's certainly arguable. there's nobody who has been put up yet. before anybody is officially nominated, there's all kinds of posturing that goes on. we saw it with susan rice who was never even nominated, and they buried her as if she was nominated. what's funny to watch on the hill is all the posturing before somebody comes up. a colleague of mine talked to senator mccain, who was notoriously leading the charge to keep out susan rice. >> he has been wrong about everything, like since -- for 20 years. foreign policy-wise. >> and as he has become the face of one of the leading voices to keep occupy suesan rice, my colleague asked him about john kerry potentially becoming -- this is before it was official -- john kerry becoming the next secretary of state. he said we should wait until we have a nominee before we weigh in. this is coming from john mccain. john mccain. >> they float these trial balloon on purpose. these names are put out there. it's just pretty amazing to see
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president obama on suesan rice really back down. can he afford to look that weak again on chuck hagel when it's clear that that is his favorite right now? >> the question is also -- >> that's another question. >> you never knew. >> he clearly really wanted her in there, but how many other people -- >> how many we'll never know. >> we'll never know. >> to jen's point, the white house -- white houses have always floated trial balloons. any time there's a nomination, you send those up, whether it's judges or cabinet secretaries. whatever it is. you send that up. you vet it through the senate and get them something to get the nomination through. it's just done quietly. why is it all of a sudden thaw have the first black president of the united states where every person he sends up, they beat them up. >> i think it's -- even if there's somebody who is
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supported by frank carlucci. >> that's a great idea. >> i want to ask one more sort of question about sort of the tone of the party. >> before they owes poez -- even on hillary clinton, on this benghazi question, i want to play some sound from charles krauthammer and what he had to say and that reflects some of the thinking on the right even about her illness and how it related to whether or not she would testify on the benghazi attack. >> i think the real question for the secretary of state to be asked is where were you when all this was happening in real-time, and what were your orders? apparently she's suffering from acute benghazi allergy, which causes light-heatedness when she hears the word benghazi. >> so, ben, does the combination of that kind of vitreal which now turns out to be embarrassingly horrifyingly wrong. we haven't heard apologies yet.
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does this accumulate more of a brand problem for the gop, or do they just want to take the win? >> the base eats this stuff up. they watch him say that sort of thing about the secretary of state and the reason she might not be able to testify, and they bang the drums and say that must be it. she's afraid to testify. the idea that she would be afraid to testify on this is frankly ridiculous when you are talking about hillary clinton, who is not afraid of anything. it just absolutely looks facial tore fell now that this has happened. she obviously has a serious illness. the reason for her not testifying was a serious one. republicans have a problem that every time something like this happens, they take it to this personal crazy level, and it makes them look ridiculous nationally, but it is -- plays well with their base. thank you very much. senator mirnlt leader mitch mcconnell may have -- it's not the vice president's only repeat call from the bullpen. biden is also heading president
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obama's tax force on preventing gun violence. we'll look at the administration's hopes and challenges on the issue just ahead. ♪ these are...
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>> will there be resistance? absolutely there will be resistance, and the question then becomes, you know, whether we are actually shook up enough by what happened here that it does not just become another one of these routine episodes where it gets a lot of attention for a couple of weeks and then it drifts away.
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it's certainly not feeling like that to me. this is something that, you know, that was the worst day of my presidency. >> president obama is planning to put the full weight of his presidency behind passing new gun control measures next year. it's expected that the legislative response to the president will discuss -- the legislative response that the president will discuss during his state of the union address next month will include a ban on assault weapons and high capacity magazines. >> there are different ways about what people think should be banned. a recent gallop show shows a majority of americans -- while 62% support a ban on high capacity ammunition clip wrshz so the question, of course, is can the outrage following sandy hook be sustained? i want to show a graphic that talks about sort of how we've covered these events immediately
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after they've happened. not just the sandy hook shooting, but the previous shooting of gabby giffords, et cetera, and this washington post graphic actually shows new stories about gun control. the aurora shooting and the representative gabby giffords shooting, but if you look at that kufsh, it quickly falls off in the weeks thereafter. as horrible assist sandy hook was, is there any chance with all the other news with the fess cal cliff, with everything else that, we can sustain the level of outrage long enough for a task force to produce legislation that can pass? >> i think if it was ever going to happen, it will happen now. we're seeing things we have never seen the president do, and we're seeing thing in congress we haven't seen quite at this level. i mean, the president for the first time in his entire time in the white house is actually talking about gun control, period. that alone is progress. the only things he has done to date in the white house were to pass two laws that actually expanded gun rights. >> right. >> now he has a task force. it's led by joe biden. he has already convened it
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twice. he has met with law enforcement officials, with mayors, and more excitingly, you've got people on the hill already announcing bills that are going to put forward on day one of the new congress. we've got senator feinstein proposing an assault weapons ban. we've got someone else with a high capacity ammunition clips. think it's maybe lautenberg, and you have the president publicly saying now that he supports those bills. this is the most momentum to date. this is the most we're going to see for a while. they have to build now or go home. >> that's the question. we go back to the question of capitol hill gridlock, and as much as people want to sort of talk about the issue and it makes everyone feel good to say they're on the right side of the issue, but can something like this get through the house of representatives? >> two dirty secrets. the first one is the white house before the election is actually going to do something on gun control if he got re-elected.
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second dirty secret is you can't get any of this through the house. if you think you can, then you're smoking something terrible that's probably illegal. and here's the problem. if you want -- if you really -- if the president really and truly wants to get gun control or gun safety as i like to call it through both chambers, bring the parents, bring the living children from sandy hook elementary to the capitol. the safest building in the country, by the way, after 9/11 and after that guy that came out and shot two capitol police officers. bring them into the capitol and say look those kids in the eyes and say tell them you're want going to do it. the best way to get something through congress is to guilt members of congress. it only works that way. the senate will do something. >> but like the president -- go ahead. >> i was going to say, i think it's important and smart, though, to note that the president is not just out there saying we need to do gun kreel. quite to the opposite. he is saying we need to have a much broader conversation, which sounds like plat tuds, which you just saw that. we need to talk about mental health care service and we need to talk about the general trend
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of violence. >> all these things are connected in some ways. >> that makes gun owners feel less target. the point that the president made, which is really important, is you can bring people in to, you know, guilt members of congress, but if you don't have public opinion on your side, it's not going to happen. if bearly passed and got four videos. >> it was allowed to expire. >> there were all kinds loophole wrshz. >> bam. >> that's why you'll have trouble with democrats getting them on board. they remember 1994. passing the assault weapons ban and lost the house. >> that was riddled with loopholes. that's part of the reason why it existed in the first place. >> you have to remember, too, that even with this president, the right who are all terrified he will send the black helicopters to get their guns, this is a president who got an f on the brady center to prevent gun violence's score card because the only changes in gun policy over the last four years
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have been to expand gun rights, to allow them in national parks, to allow them on amtrak, and to another point that when david gregory talked to the president, asked him about his legislative priorities going forward into the next term, he didn't proactively mention gun control. it was sort of added in the discussion afterwards. i think we come back to the question of whether there's a political will to go beyond the rhetoric and have real legislation. >> president obama will have be to willing to spend a long time on this, and all -- probably all of his political capital and just it's going to be a slog. that was what we got from "meet the press" yesterday. it's just clear he knows this is going to be a slog, and he needs people, the american people, to be on his side, or else it's just not going to happen. the media coverage, like you said, has already dropped off. it's not going to continue unless there's a public outrage. >> absolutely. you know he has the rett cal skill to do it. if the president puts his rett cal skill and weight behind it, at least we can keep the discussion going. we have an important thing we need to do, because jimmy williams, today is not just
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another day in the park. it's not just another new year's eve. you have somebody that you want to give a special shout-out to. >> my mother turns 70 today. happy birthday, my sweet mother. , in south carolina. you rock. you're the bomb. >> happy new year's eve, mom. >> that's right. >> we always appreciate. >> the world's greatest tax deduction. >> absolutely. you know what, her social security is guaranteed because nobody in washington is going to go after it. >> you got it. >> thank you very much. i want to thank ben, jen, jimmy, and machine kay and jim a's mom, and that is all for now. alex returns here on wednesday on noon eastern, 9:00 a.m. pacific, and she'll be joined by rnc chair, meeblg steele, e sfwl ra clean, the "new york times" hugo lindgren, times rona, and norm ornstein of the american enterprise institute. can you follow alsxex now at with alex. andrea mitchell reports next with chris sitting in for andrea, and will he have the president's live remarks on the fiscal cliff. good afternoon to you, chris.
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>> hello, joy. thank you very much. coming up, are we close to a deal? president obama will speak in about 30 minutes. we'll have it live. also joining us delaware senator chris kuhns, jack kingston and maryland democratic congressman elijah cummings talking about the cliff and the deal, maybe. we're also live at new york's presbyterian hospital with the latest on secretary of state hillary clinton's condition. andrea mitchell reports is next. we can afford to take an extra trip this year. first boston... then san francisco. hotwire checks the competitions' rates every day so they can guarantee their low prices. so our hotels were half price. ♪ h-o-t-w-i-r-e... ♪
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